Helder Chiyal joined the Konojel staff in January 2016 as the Coordinator of the Konojel Computer Center, located in the Blind Lemon’s restaurant. A native speaker of Kaq’chikel, Helder is fluent in Spanish and self-taught and proficient in English, making him an ideal contact person for international visitors looking to offer their skills in much needed areas like improving access to educational technology.
Every day, Helder works to offer all students in the San Marcos indigenous community access to computer, internet and printing services which they need in order to complete primary, intermediate and secondary schooling. He is responsible for supervising study time to make sure computer access is limited to programs and services that students need for their studies, answering questions, troubleshooting and offering instruction to students ensuring that money does not prohibit any individual from completing their assignments, in a community where almost half of families live in extreme poverty. He also makes sure that inappropriate content is blocked for students who are working on academics, ensuring that that 20+ secondhand laptops acquired through a grant with the Internet Society (ISOC) in 2016 are used exclusively for academic work.
Additionally, Helder offers weekly computer classes in Kaq’chikel to students from the intermediate school in town that doesn’t have funding to hire their own computer teacher; he facilitates Professional Development workshops for indigenous educators, and often runs intensive computer courses for primary-aged children from the San Marcos community who show promise in related fields.